Jun 12, 2013 6:32 PM by Andrew Masuda
The crack of the bat is a telling sign that the boys of summer have returned to the Vineyard Athletic Park in Templeton. The North County Indians have started their second season as a summer collegiate baseball team.
"We've got something special here," said Indians head coach Dan Marple. The former Cal Poly baseball player says his Indians feature more than two dozens players this summer, nearly all of them have Central Coast connections. "We are truly a local based team, but playing a very good brand of baseball," said Marple.
The Indians are riding a four game winning streak and are 5-5 overall. They feature a roster of recent graduates from Paso Robles to Arroyo Grande High. All of the players plan to play at the collegiate level next season.
"We played with these kids growing up and through high school ball and all competitors trying to beat each other. But now we're on the same team so it's a lot of fun and we have some fun in the summer," said catcher R.J. Hassey, a recent San Luis Obispo High graduate.
Other locals on this year's team are Arroyo Grande High grad Kyle Brown, SLO High grads Louis Carlos, Davey Casciola, Garrett Giovannelli, Jordan Goldsmith, Marco Murillo, Connor O'Hare and Sinjin Todd, as well as Atascadero grads Bryce Cherry, Scott Kaul, Bryan Kirkpatrick, Brent Poulin and Spencer Ruggles. Mac Stuart, Jason Serda and Josh Ramirez of Paso Robles, as well as Michael Frigon, Evan Peterson and Tyler Kolmanfrom Templeton are also on the Indians.
The Indians went 24-7 in their inaugural season in 2012 with the help of future Cal Poly stars Brian Mundell and Casey Bloomquist. Mundell went on to earn Freshman All-American honors this spring after he set a program record for most home runs by a freshman with 11. Bloomquist emerged as a reliable starter for the Mustangs and went 6-2.
This year's Tribe features five Cal Poly recruits. "It's a good transition. A lot of these guys are good college baseball players and Division I and it's a big difference from high school. And it's going to get me ready to play at the next level when I get to Cal Poly," said outfielder Kevin Jordan, a Cal Poly recruit from Corona. Some of the other future Mustangs on the team's roster are pitcher Cameron Cotton, infielder Alex Smith and pitcher Nick Suniga.
The club hopes to one day join the same league, the California Collegiate League, as the San Luis Obispo Blues and Santa Barbara Foresters. That said, they say they've already started to establish a new summer tradition as a new hometown team in San Luis Obispo County.
The Indians have 35 games left on their schedule, including their next 24 in a row at home. All home games are played at the Vineyard Athletic Park in Templeton, which is located off Vineyard Drive and behind Vineyard Elementary School.
The Indians open a weekend series with the Santa Maria Wahoos on Friday. First pitch is at 6pm.
For more information on the team and schedule of games click here.
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